Eyes, Beak, Comb and Wattle

January 10, 2011 | Filed in:

The steel hen has received the last of the attention she is going to receive for a while, I believe. Last week, I did the following:

  • Heated up the end of a quarter-in steel rod in the forge and banged on it with a hammer until it was beak-shaped
  • Used an oxy-acetalyne cutting torch to cut out a comb and wattles, then welded them on with same tanks
  • Melted holes in the head, found matching bolts, cut them short, inserted them. One later fell out and will have to reattached with more confidence at a future date.
  • Got a brief lesson in brazing (that’s when you attach two pieces of metal with brass, or in this case, try to color on some small pieces of flat steel with brass as if it were a paint pen, which is definitely is not) and attempted to use the method to give the new chicken head-parts some additional style and color.
  • Had my picture taken with the hen

She’s bigger than my chickens, though not by much. She is quite a bit heavier, though. Any naming suggestions for Her Henness?


Chicken gets a head

December 24, 2010 | Filed in:

This hen is getting quite heavy. Quite top heavy. I spent some time trying to add a small dense weight to her breast so she’d balance, but there were two problems with this plan. One, I didn’t embark on this plan until I’d already gotten her almost completely sealed up with new lower front and lower back pieces. Two, she’s so top heavy that even if I do get her to balance, it will be very tenous. The new plan, then, is to weld on two spikes to the bottom of her feet, once she’s all done. Then I can jam her into the ground and she’ll stand up.

So now she’s got all her parts and a head (she got very hot-headed at one point, which is why I put it in a bucket of water). The head isn’t done – you can’t tell from these pictures, but she does have a suggested beak, comb, and waddle, but needs a longer beak and a second waddle. Also, I want to braze her beak so it’s got a different color from the rest of her. And she may get some treatment. Stay tuned because the hen is due for some more artistic attention in the first week of January.


Shake your tailfeathers

December 16, 2010 | Filed in:

Massive surface area added to the chicken last night. I cut and forged the second wing, the second piece of the middle far back, the last piece of neck, five pieces of tail, the top back and I don’t remember what else. Sadly, Miss Hen is no longer properly balanced and will fall over if two (not one, but two) bricks aren’t weighing down her feet. Hopefully this will change, but she’s getting SO top-heavy that I am losing confidence.

Next week, I plan to fill out her under-tail (aka her “booty butt”) area, and some other nether regions. I also realized I’m not sure how I want to build her head, so I’ll try to figure that out as well.


Forging ahead

December 9, 2010 | Filed in:

Last week, which did not get a blog post, I started creating the external surface of the chicken. Starting with a large rectangle of relatively thin plate steel, I cut out rounded shapes with an Oxyacetalyne cutting torch. Then I heated up small areas of those pieces with a rosebud torch, and banged on them with a hammer to shape them. This proved to be slow and frustrating. The area that the rosebud could heat up was just too small.

This week I tried using a small forge instead (pictured first above). This limits the size of the steel pieces I can use, but that proved to be a worthy sacrifice, because the forge heats up pieces fully and I could shape them more easily. The chicken now has a few additional pieces attached, and four more have been forged and will be attached next week. I also took some time to strengthen the welds at the heel and hip joints; the upper part of the chicken is getting heavy and I don’t want it to collapse. At this moment, the chicken can stand on its own! The balance will go off and on again over time, but hopefully it will end up stable.


Metal chicken

November 11, 2010 | Filed in:

The chicken support structure/skeleton begins. It’s kind of hard to tell, but it’s got a basic body outline, hips, legs, and initial neck.


Spider Day Four

March 22, 2007 | Filed in:

Last night I added only a gross (144) squares. That’s because I ran out! I have to buy more steel and make more squares. Also, I did a lot of detail work, becuase after I finished the abdomen I had to patch up some empty spaces on the back and near the spinarrets, and then I had to start the transition to the cephalothorax (front part), which was tedious. I put a lot of extra welds in this area because this small transition ara will have to hold the entire weight of the abdomen.

Here are the pictures.


Spider Day Three

March 16, 2007 | Filed in:

Last night I added another 212 squares to the spider abdomen. This makes for a total of 551 squares. The abdomen is almost complete. Now I will begin creating the cephalothorax…

Click here to see more pictures.


Spider Day Two

March 8, 2007 | Filed in:

Last night I added another 170 squares to the spider abdomen. This makes for a total of 339 squares.

Click here to see more pictures.


Spider begins

March 1, 2007 | Filed in:

I started a new metal sculpture that I’m building entirely out of squares (well, most are actually just rectangles and a few are triangles). You can’t tell right now, but it’s going to be a spider. The part I’ve built first is the top part of the back part … I have to learn some spider anatomy.

Click here for the full picture.


elephant day 4

March 30, 2006 | Filed in:

Last night I spent a good 3 solid hours working on this little guy, but there’s less visible progress. I worked on some details, like adding metal to the body so that they ribs don’t show through as much. I also covered more of the head and started strategizing about the trunk.


elephant has a head

March 23, 2006 | Filed in:

I got all hunkered down with the elephant last night. Didn’t even take the dog out of hiding (though she did get to pose for a picture with the elephant). I added lots to the elephant’s body, which is now almost completely covered. I also created a complte frame for the head with little pieces of bar, and then started covering it. Exciting! Here is the elephant from the front and here from the side.


elephant gets skin

March 17, 2006 | Filed in:

How the elephant got its skin: Take a sheet of metal. Using the plasma cutter, hack it up into smallish pieces (1-4 square inches). Take once piece at time, weld it to the skeleton using the oxy-acetalyne welder. Heat, bang with hammer, weld some more.

I started this process on Wednesday night and got the elephant about 1/4 covered in skin. This process yields much better results on small creatures like this elephant and bull than it does on the dog, I think. Here are three pictures of the elephant, partly covered.


elephant begins

March 2, 2006 | Filed in:

Last night I also started welding a new project (last week I started it by cutting and preparing the first 12 pieces of metal, but it was last night that I began attaching them). This will be a little elephant, standing only about 8 inches high. He doesn’t photograph very well right now, so you have to imagine you can see him in three dimensions. Here he is from the side and from the back.


dog continues

March 1, 2006 | Filed in:

Spent a few hours tonight working on the dog laying an egg. Did a combination, for each piece of skin/armor I added, of forging, welding, and then heating with a rosebud and banging (in that order). I started adding to one front leg, but it’ll need some more work before it looks anything like right. Here she is viewed from above, with ears on show!


back to the dog

February 17, 2006 | Filed in:

AFter months and months of neglect, the dog has finally gotten some attention. It’s been a while since I posted photos of her, so the differences are clear. She’s got a lot more armor/skin now. I posted a photo showing new metal next to old metal. Next week, there’ll be more photos from the front.


final bull

February 9, 2006 | Filed in:

After a 7-month hiatus, I went back to the metalshop this week. I spent my time there reacquainting myself with the machinery and finishing off the bull. along with a bit more metal on his haunches, he’s now got a tail, which was really the final thing missing. The tail pulls the whole thing together. Take a look!


Kent – in iron, done

July 29, 2005 | Filed in:

Kent now exists in many forms! He’s been cast three times, and painted a bit. The first casting, in plaster, has been painted and patinaed to look like aged bronze. The second casting, also in plaster but more thorough, has now been painted and patinaed to look like aged iron. It’s all rusty and very neat! The third casting, which still has to be chased, repaired, and finished, is made of aquaresin mixed with actual bronze powder, and is hollow.


Kent – in iron

July 26, 2005 | Filed in:

There is now a second plaster casting of Kent. He’s been painted with iron paint. And he’s been lightly sprayed, and is rusting! Should look like aged iron soon enough.